My TS, My Story: Part 2, Understanding my tics, explaining my understanding

Part of the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada’s mission is to help individuals affected by TS through programs of self-help. That is why our posts this week will focus on self-understanding, self-knowledge and self-awareness. Today’s post is from Tina T.

closeup-on-womans-hand-writing-in-planner460x300As a female diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and someone studying in the health-care field, I have made a point of becoming very familiar with my tics and the ways in which they present themselves.

As I mentioned in part one of this three-part series, I was diagnosed with TS at 8 years of age. Within the past 10-plus years, I have experienced many different forms of tics.

Though I was diagnosed with a mild case of the disorder, I have experienced more severe episodes. This is not a big surprise, since tic severity levels often vary not only from person to person and but also over time.

Some people with TS experience a physical clue right before they tic (called a premonitory sensation). I’ve worked hard to try to understand my tics and any physical clues/cues that precede them.

There are those who have seen me in severe states, and those who have seen me in calm states, and from this I can honestly say that having a bout of severe tics is not only frustrating for me, it is also frustrating for my companions — whether they are a parent, friend or significant other.

It is this frustration that led me to think about why my tics might happen, and to think of ways of explaining and understanding them.

This is how I understand my own tics…

I think my tic level (the degree to which my tics are severe or mild) is related to my subconscious emotions — emotions that have disappeared from my direct awareness and instead reside in my subconscious. I believe that the emotions that I do not directly feel are expressed through the severity of my tics.

Based on this personal understanding, this is how I explain my tics…

While doing research on dream theories in previous years, I was exposed to the idea that dreams can be formed on the basis of underlying issues within the subconscious.

In my opinion, the best way to understand my thoughts about why my tics are severe sometimes and mild at other times, would be to use the dream theory as an analogy (simply replace “dreams” with “tics”).

As I mentioned above, my personal belief is that although an emotion may not be felt directly, it is still felt by my body and tics may present themselves based on the way my body feels indirectly.

For people with TS, tics are involuntary symptoms.

Continuing with the dream theory analogy, you could say I have no more control over my tics than the average person has over their dreams.

I like this analogy because both dreams and tics manifest themselves involuntarily. Taking it a little further, consider this.

Sometimes people have good dreams and sometimes they don’t dream at all; people with TS can sometimes have mild tics or none at all.

Sometimes people have bad dreams, nightmares. People with TS can sometimes have severe tic episodes.

About Tina T.: Tina T. is a young adult with Tourette Syndrome and a volunteer with the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada. She currently lives in Ontario, where she is a full time post-secondary student. If you would like to contact Tina about her blog series “My TS, My Story” please e-mail tsfc@tourette.ca or leave a comment.

** The opinions expressed in this blog entry are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the TSFC, TSParentsOnline or NJCTS.**


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